The Branding Ethos Of Richard Branson

Richard Branson

With Virgin, Mr. Branson has displayed remarkable staying power that is made possible only by adhering to his own carefully honed set of business values. From the winter of 1969, when as a 19-year-old wunderkind he founded his first venture – a mail- order record business, which evolved into a recording studio dubbed Virgin Records – Mr. Branson established a clear business ethos that had its genesis in the anti-establishment counterculture of the 1960’s and remained steadfast even as the company grew and Mr. Branson himself evolved from the “hippie capitalist” into a widely admired billionaire.

Writing in a British management journal, Alan Mitchell noted that Mr. Branson found his winning formula in the clashing values of the 60’s: profit versus people; money versus morality; the corporation versus the consumer; big (business) versus small (human); formal versus informal; planning versus spontaneity; conventionality versus novelty; hierarchy versus egalitarianism; secrecy versus openness. Mr. Branson always chose the humanistic path, and “yet uniquely, he’s turned these values back on business itself, forging an unexpectedly vibrant synthesis,” Mr. Mitchell wrote.

Related articles

The vibrant synthesis is based on a set of five criteria that Mr. Branson has incorporated into every business he has started and every joint venture he has entered. A product or service cannot hope to bear the Virgin label unless it meets these conditions:

  • It must have high quality.
  • It must be innovative.
  • It must provide good value for the money.
  • It must be challenging to existing alternatives.
  • It must have a sense of fun.

With these core values as the common thread, Mr. Branson has entered one business after another in which he perceived a customer set that was being underserved by a fat and complacent dominant player. Whereas most would avoid such elephantine competition as British Airways or Britain\’s entire financial services industry, Mr. Branson sees a “bigger, softer underbelly” that is vulnerable to attack. He calls it the “Big Bad Wolf” theory. “We look for the big bad wolves who are dramatically overcharging and underdelivering,” he explains.

Adapted from How Richard Branson Works Magic.

A Better Way  

Increase your personal and business performance

Jim Woods is a leader in workplace learning, productivity, performance, and leadership training solutions. He has helped hundreds of companies and individuals improve their performance, productivity, and bottom-line results. See a partial list of Jim’s clients. Hire Jim Woods to Speak  | Follow us: Facebook | Follow us: Twitter | Skype ID – jim.woods79

Make the Call

Call Jim at (719) 445-1204 or use this form to schedule a free phone consultation. You and he will discuss how your organizational culture operates today – and how you’d like it to operate tomorrow.

Share this Article Below 


Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Management, Small Business

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: